Do you ever hear your jaw clicking when you open or close your mouth? Sometimes this may cause pain or discomfort, and other times not. While the pain might not be too bad initially, throughout the day, it can worsen.
Sufferers who deal with jaw clicking may also experience a great deal of recurrent pain, headaches, and even neck or back pain. These symptoms can even cause the sufferer to experience a lack of focus, irritability, and a loss of interest in activities they once loved.
These are all signs of a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD and airway disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. If ignored, these health problems may lead to complications down the road.
Symptoms of TMJ disorder
Let’s start by taking a look at the symptoms of TMJ disorder. It can start with something as seemingly insignificant as a clicking jaw when you eat or open your mouth wide. This symptom can quickly progress into something worse, leading to more pain. It often can begin in girls during puberty, and again in their 40’s or 50’s or around premenopause. Jaw locking may result from women who have joint laxity and clenching.
If you have TMJ disorder, you may experience any one of the following symptoms:
- Clicking, popping, or grinding noise as you move your jaw
- Jaw pain
- A tight feeling across your face
- Headache around the temple
- Ear pain
- A feeling of fullness or ringing in the ears or tinnitus
- Difficulty opening your jaw
- Jaw lock when you open your mouth
- Pain when chewing
- Pain in the mornings, or when stressed
Your jaw joints have an important job, they move your lower jaw for eating and speaking, and work to retract and move five sets of major facial muscles. Inside each jaw joint are discs and elastic fibrocartilage responsible for cushioning the joint. When clicking or popping sounds emanate from the jaw, it is a sign that there is a problem with this soft tissue or joint alignment.
Testing for TMJ Disorder
At Wall Street Dentistry, our TMJ specialists Drs. Jonathan Renfroe and Josh Conley use specialized technology, not available at most primary health practitioner offices, to diagnose TMJ disorder. We are able to locate the exact cause of the problem, and therefore, devise a specific treatment plan for each patient suffering from TMJ disorder. Many practitioners misdiagnose TMJ disorder or simply aren’t able to offer effective treatment. In these cases, patients end up masking their pain with medication, never really correcting the underlying cause, which is a problem with the jaw joints.
Don’t mask your pain, get treatment
It’s important not to ignore symptoms of TMJ disorder. Otherwise, it could lead to worn down teeth or damaged teeth, joint inflammation or deterioration, the development of a sleep-breathing disorder, and widespread pain throughout the neck and back. Eventually, untreated TMJ disorder affects one’s life and even causes disinterest in family, friends, and their general love for life. The sooner that you receive a diagnosis for your TMJ disorder, the sooner you can get on with your life again!
Neuromuscular dentistry in Boaz
To learn more about how Wall Street Dentistry diagnoses and treats TMJ disorder, please contact our office by calling (256) 878-0525 to schedule a consultation. We serve the communities of Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville, Alabama.